HIV Symptoms that are Severe and Disabling

by Editorial Board on August 4, 2010 · 0 comments

in Immune System

The Social Security Administration (SSA) decides which claims for disability benefits will be awarded, and which ones will be denied.  In cases of an immune system disorder such as HIV/AIDS, they require documentation to prove the presence of the infection and the severity of the disorder. The presence of an immune system disorder such as HIV is confirmed based on the medical history, physical examination reports, laboratory reports, and in some instances, specialized reports such as that of imaging or tissue biopsy reports.

Disabling Symptoms and Conditions

The symptoms or conditions that are considered severe or disabling according to the SSA are given below. These symptoms are categorized based on the causative microorganism that has resulted in the disorder.

  • Presence/recurrence of bacterial infections such as mycobacterial infections, nocardiosis or salmonella infections. The recurrence of any of the bacterial infections that require the individual to be hospitalized or administration of antibiotics through the vein three or more times within a year’s duration is also considered as severe.
  • Recurrent fungal infections
  • Protozoan or helminthic infection that have resulted in symptoms such as diarrhea that have lasted for more than a month’s duration
  • Presence of viral infections such as herpes that has caused infections of the mouth, genitals or in the anal region that lasts more than a month or longer. Further, infections that are causing multiple skin eruptions that are resistant to drug treatment are also considered as debilitating
  • Presence of cancers such as that of the cervix, mouth, lungs, gastrointestinal tract or other organs. Other cancerous conditions such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma and squamous cell carcinoma when present are also considered debilitating
  • Involuntary weight loss of 10% of more of the baseline for a particular age, sex and height. This condition is referred to as HIV wasting syndrome and the weight loss is associated with long term diarrhea, weakness and presence of fever [more than 38°C (100.4°F)] for 1 month or longer
  • Diarrhea for more than a month’s duration which is resistant to treatment and requires hospitalization for treatment
  • Presence of any these above listed symptoms that prevent an individual from performing daily activities, social functioning and occupational requirements

It should be noted that disability benefits are not awarded to everyone with HIV/AIDS.  To be awarded benefits the presence of HIV/AIDS must have been confirmed by medically accepted tests or exams, and the individual must be severely limited in their ability to perform work functions preventing him/her from sustaining employment.

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